Get creative this October with fantastic free family activities during Bristol Family Arts Festival

Bristol Family Arts Festival returns this October for a month long citywide celebration of creativity. Taking place at venues across the city, the programme is packed full with creative activities for all ages. Get inspired with music, theatre, storytelling, drawing, making and much more. With over 50 activities to choose from, there’s sure to be something to spark your curiosity.

What’s in store?

The full festival programme is available online at but here’s a top-ten taster of what’s coming up this October:

Now in its fifth year, the Family Arts Festival continues as the only festival in the city dedicated to families. For old and young, big and little, the festival is for everyone to discover (and rediscover) their inner creative. It’s an opportunity for all of us to visit somewhere new, try something different and spend some time with family. A festival for all ages, the creativity does not stop with the kids, everyone is invited to join the fun and be inspired. Calling all aunts, uncles, grandparents, best friends, carers, siblings and favourite stuffed toys.

Hosted across the city, most of the events are free and drop-in on the day, however some events require pre-booking and a fee/donation. For specific event details and full festival information check the website.

As lead partner to the festival, Arnolfini’s Programme Assistant for Learning Clare Karslake introduces this year’s programme saying;

We are excited to see even more organisations taking part in this year’s festival, creating a programme of amazing events across the city. Bristol is well known for its creativity and the Festival aims to make sure that every family has the opportunity to make the most of this. Join in throughout October, discover new organisations, meet new people and experiment with exciting new ways of making.”

Why a festival for families? Bristol Family Arts Festival is coordinated by the Bristol Family Arts Festival Network, a network of cultural and art organisations in Bristol. The purpose of the festival, and network, is to champion the value of family engagement in the arts and to inspire families to get creative. In joining forces, the network co-produces a citywide programme and showcases an inter-disciplinary arts offer in Bristol. Venues taking part this year include: Arnolfini, Architecture Centre, At Bristol, Blaise Castle House, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Brunel’s ss Great Britain, Bristol Children’s Scrapstore, Bristol Old Vic, Churches Conservation Trust, Dance Music Arts Collective, M Shed, Tyntesfield (National Trust), Royal West of England Academy, Spike Island, St George’s Bristol, Bristol Hippodrome, Tobacco Factory, and Watershed.

Amy Harrison, Head of Learning and Participation at the Architecture Centre says;

“Creativity is vital to a child’s development and an important contributor to their wellbeing. Changes to the school curriculum are resulting in less creative opportunities for children and young people in formal education, so now more than ever we (the arts and cultural sector) see the importance for informal opportunities for creative expression and exploration. Innate creative talent exists in all children, and we need to ensure that creative opportunity exists for children from all of our city’s communities’.

Building on four successful years, inclusion and accessibility are key ambitions for the festival in 2017, with a focus on taking the cultural offer out of the city centre to communities with less access to cultural activity. The Architecture Centre, Arnolfini, Children’s Scrapstore and Watershed (joint winners of the 2016 Best Family event at the national Festival Arts Festival Awards) have been collaborating with Bristol Libraries throughout the year to deliver a varied and accessible creative programme for families. In addition 2017 festival partners DMAC and Travelling Light will be igniting family creativity through events in St Pauls and Barton Hill.

The ambition of the festival also mirrors the Mayor of Bristol’s goals. Speaking of the festival, Marvin Rees, says:

“I’m proud we have a festival dedicated entirely to families and I welcome the commitment by Bristol Family Arts Festival’s organisers to make diversity and inclusion a strong focus of the event. Bristol is renowned for its thriving and innovative cultural life. While we undoubtedly have a great story to tell, the city’s success is shared by too few people. We want Bristol to flourish as a prosperous and inclusive city in which no-one is left behind Improving access to, and participation in, the arts, festivals, sport and other events is an important part of this jigsaw.”

Part of the national Family Arts Festival, Bristol Family Arts Festival encourages families to get creative and participate in art activities. Taking place throughout the month of October, don’t miss the fun-filled and action packed programme. Come join the fun!

Find out more:
Visit the festival website:
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